In The Trenches

Advice from Dad

Published on August 27, 2018 Back to blog
Dad Giving Life Advice to Teenager

It’s hard to believe that, next week, my daughter is starting high school. I remember people telling me that time flies by quickly with your kids, but it never really hit me until now. High School?!?!? 

As I began thinking about what advice I could share with Julia as she begins this new chapter of her life, I quickly realized that it is not much different than what I may tell her (or anyone else) at other life milestones, such as going to college, starting a new job, getting married, etc. So, rather than only sharing my thoughts with her, I thought it may be worthy of a blog post to be shared with you and others you know who may be in a similar place in life. 

So, Julia, if you are reading this (which I know you are because, even though you never admit it, I know you read every post. And if that wasn’t enough, I included an embarrassing photo of you here to catch your attention), this is for you. (And, for anyone else reading this, I hope you take it to heart for whatever chapter of life you may be in.)

  1. Be yourself – I put this one first because it is most important. You may be tempted to do things because “everyone else is doing them” or not do things because “no one else is.” Avoid that way of thinking – just be yourself and have fun. It is what makes you special – and the person that mom, Josh, me and all of your family and friends love so much. (As the saying goes” “Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.”)
  2. Get out of your comfort zone – While you should always be yourself, now is also a great time to more deeply discover who you are. Don’t be afraid to try new things (well, with some exceptions…), meet new people and have new experiences. This is an opportunity to find new passions and build upon the amazing person you’ve already become.
  3. Learn – Every day is a learning experience. Not just from what is written in text books or stated by teachers, but from every experience you have before, during and after school. It’s not just about getting smarter, but about learning how to be a better friend, daughter, sister and person (although, it’s hard to believe you could be better than you already are…). 🙂 
  4. Don’t be afraid to fail – Sometimes, the best way to learn is from the mistakes you make. They are not really failures if you’ve tried your hardest, and learned from what didn’t work. As Thomas Edison is famously known for saying, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
  5. Smile – Attitude is everything. Whatever you do, approach it with a smile on your face. It will make every experience that much more positive. And, it causes those around you to smile (and be positive) as well. (Even your little brother loves seeing you smile.)

Lastly, although not necessarily advice, know that mom and I love you unconditionally. Never be afraid to talk to us and share your life with us – no matter what challenges or heartbreaks you may be faced with. We are always here for you. 

OK, Julia, I now need to bring this home for everyone else that is reading…. 

I hope that you have found this advice to be valuable for whatever stage of life you may be at – and whatever new life situations you may be experiencing. Although this is a bit personal, please feel free to share it with others.

As always, thanks for reading.

Jeff Freedman
CEO/Managing Partner
Small Army | Finn Partners